Leading up to the Ardennes-Alsace Campaign were other brutal battles such as the fierce fighting that took place in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest.
This Battle which lasted from September – December 1944 was a territory fiercely defended by the Germans, and the forest proved a terrible challenge for the attacking US forces. A forest that would test both mentally and physically the US forces, let alone the challenges of moving heavy and much needed equipment in such volatile terrain. There were many issues and dangers encountered with fighting Germans in pillboxes, they were determined not to give up the fight. Getting close enough to have an impact whilst avoiding the danger was an ever-faced challenge. Let alone the impact on both progression and morale due to the fierce resistance.
The forest was rife with barbed wire, trip wires, mines and numerous dug in hazardous fox holes. A fir tree sealed roof engulfed the horrors of the scenes below, seeping through only glimmers of light, and maybe a little hope to those below suffering its atrocities, that they would eventually make it through.
The ever-present sound of machine gun and mortar fire would sink any heart the only option to collapse down to the forest floor as quickly as possible hoping that in doing so you had not caught a bullet and in turn your final breath. It was a terrible battle that encountered high losses.
So relentlessly defended by the Germans at all costs as the area was to become the staging area for the last major German offensive ‘The Battle of the Bulge’.
US Airforce Groups
US Air Forces at the time consisted of men formed into squadrons, and in turn Squadrons formed into groups.
The following sections categorizes those US Air Force Groups involved in the Battle of the Bulge divided into the areas they flew from at the time. Without doubt there many more vital and heroic missions the groups were involved in, but this section just focuses on the Ardennes-Alsace campaign and those events that closely followed it.
If I have made a mistake with any of the above then please feel free to let me know and it will be corrected.
Of course, by no means must we ever forgot those brave troops on the ground who were facing the brutality of the fight first hand and in some of the harshest conditions that are unimaginable to most.